Author Archives: Paul Golder

Station’s fond farewell to Essex airwaves legend

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

We’re saying goodbye this week not just to one of our most popular presenters but to a legend of the Essex airwaves in Keith Rogers.

Keith joined our team in October 2014 and has been presenting our Drive show for the last three years. But I remember Keith when I was a teenager, listening to the launch of Essex Radio in 1981. Keith was one of the original team when the station (now Heart Essex) launched with other well known DJs including Jon Scragg, Dave Gregory and Tim Lloyd. I’m pretty sure I saw him larking around on a stage at the back of the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Romford on one of the station’s famous roadshows the following year.

What I didn’t know is that Keith was already well known to listeners as a DJ from the old pirate ships. He joined Radio Northsea International in September 1970 at the age of 23, which broadcast from the Mebo II, a ship moored in international waters five miles off Clacton. He was on board when the ship was attacked by a rival pirate radio station in 1971 which led to a bomb exploding and the ship being abandoned!

After this Keith came back to land and appeared on a number of commercial stations including Ipswich’s Radio Orwell throughout the 70s, before landing the Essex Radio show which kept him busy for the best part of another decade.

Keith had been retired from radio for some time before our daytime presenter Scott Ross persuaded him to give it another go for old times’ sake – and 662 shows later he’s finally hanging up his headphones to take a well-earned rest from the airwaves.

Keith isn’t completely taking it easy though – he’s been enjoying life as an actor for the last 20 years or so, having played many lead roles with The Southend Shakespeare Company, and he’s appeared in acting roles in a few films too including the role of former SAS commander Dr Nigel Carter in the action/thriller “The Liberator”.

Along with all of my colleagues we wish Keith all the best (and hope to tempt him back for the occasional show from time to time).

Work to improve stations and tracks on TfL Rail continues

Work to upgrade stations, track, and other parts of the TfL Rail route between Liverpool Street and Shenfield will continue at weekends in the first few months of 2018.

Over a series of ten weekends from late January to March, a number of essential weekend closures will allow improvement work to be carried out in advance of Elizabeth line services commencing later this year. While these are carried out, buses will replace trains along the route.

The Elizabeth line will transform transport in London with quicker, easier and more accessible journeys across the Capital once fully operational in December next year. It will also support thousands of new homes and jobs in London and the South East.

A great deal of work has already taken place and customers going through Manor Park station will have seen the new footbridge and lift structure that has been installed as part of work to make the station accessible for everyone. Work will continue at the station during the weekend closures, including fitting the glazing and cladding to the footbridge and lifts.

Transport for London (TfL) will also continue working on the lifts and footbridges at Seven Kings and on the installation of new lifts at Maryland which are due to come into passenger use later this year. This will bring step-free access to these stations, and all Elizabeth line stations will be step-free, significantly improving the accessibility of the transport network. This complements the Mayor’s plan for 40 per cent of the London Underground network to be step-free by 2022.

During these closures, platform canopies at Chadwell Heath, Goodmayes and Ilford will also be repaired and redecorated, which can only be done at times when trains are not running and overhead power lines are switched off.

Network Rail will also continue with their station improvements, installing structures that carry overhead wires and replacing a further eight kilometres of overhead wiring between Ilford and Manor Park during the weekend closures. They will complete the remodelling of the sidings and the signalling upgrade at Gidea Park as well as completing the link between the Elizabeth line central tunnels and the Great Eastern Main Line to Shenfield.

Howard Smith, Operations Director for TfL Rail, said: “I’d like to thank customers for their patience while TfL and Network Rail continue to prepare for the Elizabeth line opening from December this year. I apologise for the disruption to regular weekend travel, but it’s vital that this work is done to improve the railway and upgrade the stations to make them accessible for all. The Elizabeth line will make life much easier for people along the route and will transform travel across London.”

The introduction of the Elizabeth line is a central part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, which seeks to reduce reliance on the car and tackle air pollution by encouraging greater use of public transport.

Weekend closures are as follows:

Sunday 21 January
No service between Stratford and Shenfield.

Sunday 28 January
No service between Stratford and Shenfield.

Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 February
Full line closure. No service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 February
No service between Stratford and Shenfield.

Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 February
No service between Stratford and Shenfield.

Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 February
Full line closure. No service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 March
Full line closure. No service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 March
Full line closure. No service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 March
Full line closure. No service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 March
Full line closure. No service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

There will also be a reduced service on the line on Saturdays in January between Chadwell Heath and Shenfield.

The Elizabeth line will open from December 2018, operating initially as three separate services:
Paddington to Abbey Wood
Paddington to Heathrow
Liverpool Street to Shenfield

From May 2019, customers from Shenfield will be able to travel directly through central London to the West End and Paddington without needing to change trains.

TfL is undertaking a major programme of investment to improve accessibility at stations across the network. The ability for everyone to travel spontaneously and independently is at the heart of this approach. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy seeks to do more than just improve physical infrastructure but also address overcrowding, safety and affordability. More information is available here:

Cultura Brazil – show 178

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Cultura Brazil is Phoenix FM’s show for the Brazilian community in Essex, London and beyond, presented by Ezequiel Cassol.

In this week’s show Ezequiel talks about the new documentary about religion in Brazil at the Barbican.

You can hear the show every Sunday evening at 2200 UK time.

Playlist for 13 Jan 2018 (AOTW: Shame – Songs Of Praise)

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Today’s album of the week is a proper album from a proper new guitar band! I managed to catch SHAME live at the Latitude Festival last summer and was pretty impressed to wander past a new band not playing folky/plinky plonky electronica or something.

Their debut album has now hit the online (and real) shops and it’s a fantastic collection of songs – thoughtful lyrics and real energy capturing a great deal of the passion of their live performances.

Tonight’s playlist:

Dream Wife – Fire
Shame – Concrete
Peppermint Club – Everything Is Changing
Desperate Journalist – It Gets Better
Gloria – The Rain Is Out
Serpent Power – Black Angel Rider
Ride – Catch You Dreaming
Danny Goffey – Ancient Text
Slowcoaches – Living Out
Franz Ferdinand – Feel The Love Go
Shame – Friction
Wind-Up Birds – The Astronauts
Ghost Music – Heart Shaped Holiday
Gaz Coombes – Deep Pockets
Usselman – Tongue Tied
Beatniks – The Girl Is Mine (Phoenix FM Creative Session – 09 Dec 2017)
Darling Buds – Our Lips Are Sealed
Honeyblood – Swell Love
Superfood – Right On Satellite
Sibyl Vane – Thousand Words
Shame – One Rizla
Velvet Tree – Grace And Magic (Phoenix FM Creative Session – 09 Dec 2017)
Deadcuts – Opium Style
Academic – Mixtape 2003
Waxahatchee – Never Been Wrong
Sultans Of Ping FC – Indeed You Are
Idles – Well Done
Shed Seven – Enemies and Friends
Boy Azooga – Face Behind Her Cigarette
Echobelly – If The Dogs Don’t Get You My Sisters Will
MX Tyrants – Sycamore Semaphore (Studio 6 Music session)
Everglows – Here I Go Again

Playlist for 6 Jan 2018 (AOTW: Rainbow Reservoir – Channel Hanna)

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One of my many New Year resolutions which I manage to break every year is the plan to have an Album Of The Week every single week. Of course if I suddenly put out a show without one, there just wasn’t any good albums released, right? Wrong – will have to listen to MORE albums, not less, and just find them. There you go, there’s another resolution for you.

So without any further ado I can announced that my first AOTW from 2018 is the excellent CHANNEL HANNA from RAINBOW RESERVOIR. They’re and Oxford-based Anglo-American power-pop trio signed to Cardiff’s Oddbox Records, current home of the Darling Buds, Nervous Twitch, Peaness and lots more indie-pop goodness. Channel Hanna is out on 23 February and you can pre-order/buy it from here.

Tonight’s playlist

Suede – Trash
Rainbow Reservoir – Fuzzy
Manic Street Preachers – International Blue (full version)
Geowulf – Hideaway
Shame – One Rizla (radio edit)
Velvet Tree – A Little Like You (Phoenix FM Creative Session – 09 Dec 2017)
Usselman – Tongue Tied
Dream Wife – Hey Heartbreaker
Blur – Chemical World
Sibyl Vane – Thousand Words
Vaccines – I Can’t Quit
Easy – Ask The Sky
Wind-Up Birds – The Astronauts
They Might Be Giants – All Time What
Rainbow Reservoir – Posh Ponytails
Wombats – Lemon To A Knife Fight
Beatniks – Send Me A Postcard (Phoenix FM Creative Session – 09 Dec 2017)
Ghost Music – Strange Love
Shed Seven – Star Crossed Lovers
Cardigans – Never Recover
Total Control – Luxury Vacuum
Swirlpool – Camomile
Thousand Yard Stare – Black & Blue Sky Thinking
Everglows – Here I Go Again
Rainbow Reservoir – Brenda
Gary War – Windows And Walls
Pony – Small Things
British Sea Power – Saint Jerome
Bongolian – I’m A Bigger Badder Bro Than Any Game Of Thrones
Salad – Debonair
Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending
Radiohead – Planet Telex

2017 highlights and reflections

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

Supporting the local music scene is a massive part of what we do on Phoenix FM and I always take the opportunity of the new year to reflect on the Essex bands and singers we have supported in the last 12 months and a look ahead for the ones to watch in 2018.

We recorded exactly 150 sessions in 2017 – 133 of these were live acoustic sets and the remainder were recorded in the two recording studios we collaborate with, Creative in East Horndon and Studio 6 in Witham.

It’s hard to pick out favourites but here are some of my personal highlights:

It was a major achievement to record a session with cult psychedelic rock band GONG.  The highly influential band, who have formerly featured rock and jazz virtuosos Steve Hillage, Pip Pyle, Charles Hayward and Bill Bruford in their line up, recorded three amazing songs for us weighing in at a total of 36 minutes between them.  Part of the secret of getting them to agree to record for us was that – unlike the BBC – we told them they could play for as long as they liked!

It was great to get 90s Britpop band SALAD back in for their first plugged-in radio session for nearly 20 years too.  The band, whose semi-acoustic line-up feature Essex guitarist Paul Kennedy alongside former MTV VJ Marijne van der Vlugt and Julian Cope guitarist Donald Ross Skinner, are touring in the spring and will be releasing two new albums in the next year or so.

Southend band THE BEATNIKS have played for us before but have had a change of personnel with a new Brazilian frontwoman, Isabella, giving the band more of a bossanova edge.  Their Hammond-fuelled session for us at the Creative studios in November was definitely one of my musical highlights of the year.

Brentwood band OCEAN FLAWS showcased more new material during the summer and hopefully we’ll be seeing more from them in the coming months.

Talented Londoner RHYS LEWIS, recently signed to Decca and playlisted by Radio 2, also came in to perform a trio of songs live on Michelle Ward’s morning show.

Former X Factor finalist SAM CALLAHAN visited us in October to play his new single live and talk about his future plans.

Up and coming 17 year old singer/songwriter KATY FORKINGS recorded three sets for us, including one on our 10th birthday celebrations in March when we broadcast live from the Holiday Inn.

Former frontman with Canvey band The Ends, DARRAH, also visited us to perform his increasingly impressive solo material.

Artists from further afield were also featured with Japanese shoegazers TAFFY visiting Brentwood for their 4th session with us, and Swedish/Australian duo PERFECT BLUE SKY playing more summery pop/rock.

Originally from Australia but now residing in East London, twin sisters Susan and Catherine – THE TALL POPPIES – recorded a second session for us in the autumn with three wonderfully crafted bittersweet baroque pop tunes.

As far as the band with the best name goes, it has to be a toss-up between East London rock band SUBLIMINAL KITTENS and Clacton rock and blues trio DAD’S OLD PANTS.

As far as 2018 goes, I’m looking forward to new music from Romford 60s revivalists THE EVERGLOWS, Southend’s ASYLUMS who will be releasing their 2nd album this year alongside the new album from lo-fi slacker rock band GHOST MUSIC.

There will be no shortage of local acts coming in to talk and play live with sets confirmed for January from THE LIGHTWORKER, LEO C, SOPHIE GRIFFITHS and ANGEL AND THE MELODYHORNS.

It’s going to be an exciting year for our presenters and local artists – and we’re also hoping to finalise a partnership with one of the biggest and best boutique festivals in the south east too, so watch this space!

Hollyoaks actor James Sutton to star in Rope

Casting has been announced for the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich production of Patrick Hamilton’s gripping thriller, Rope.

James Sutton, who is best-known for playing John Paul McQueen in Hollyoaks a role he was thrice nominated for a British Soap Award and shortlisted for a National Television Award – and Ryan Lamb in Emmerdale, has been cast as Charles Granillo in this chilling play. He will be joined by Janet Amsden, Cara Chase, Sam Jenkins-Shaw, George Kemp, Fred Lancaster, Nico Pimparé and Phoebe Sparrow. It runs in Hornchurch from 15 February – 3 March.

Based on a 1920’s real-life case, this dark classic was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1948 and remains to this day one of the most tightly coiled of thrillers. It will be directed by the Queen’s Theatre’s Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul, who directed James Sutton in As You Like It at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is delighted to announce that due to phenomenal demand, it is extending its run of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert by a week. This regional professional premiere of this glamorously feel-good musical by Stephan Elliot and Allan Scott will now play at the Queen’s Theatre from 27 April – 26 May. Booking for these additional dates is now on sale.

The Theatre’s spring season also includes the deeply moving and timely modern classic, Kindertransport by Diane Samuels. This heart-warming play is co-produced by the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg in association with Selladoor Productions (the producers of last year’s acclaimed revival of The Crucible). This production marks the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport, which saw thousands of Jewish children ferried from Austria and Germany to safety in the UK and 25 years since the play was written. It runs in Hornchurch from 8 – 24 March, at Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg from 27 – 31 March and then tours across the UK to New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Richmond Theatre and Manchester Opera House.

Theatregoers can enjoy all three of these productions with a money-saving Jump the Q season ticket from £42 (£14 per show). This special offer must end by Saturday 3 March.

For more information about the forthcoming season at the Queen’s Theatre and to book tickets visit or call the Box Office on 01708 443333

Cultura Brazil – show 177

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Cultura Brazil is Phoenix FM’s show for the Brazilian community in Essex, London and beyond, presented by Ezequiel Cassol.

In this week’s show we look at a new book about the lives of Brazilians abroad.

You can hear the show every Sunday evening at 2200 UK time.

Did you experience the Kindertransport?

Did you experience the Kindertransport 80 years ago? Was your relative one of the thousands of children rescued through the Kindertransport before the outbreak of World War II? If so, and you’re local to Essex / East London, the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch wants to hear from you.

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport, the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is bringing this rich piece of history to the stage. It is estimated that 10,000 children were evacuated from Europe into the UK through the Kindertransport to escape the threat of World War II. The train came through Harwich to London Liverpool Street with many children being rehomed in Essex.

The theatre is reaching out to people in Essex and East London who experienced the Kindertransport or know of someone who had a connection with the rescue mission to get in touch. They will be able to share stories and memories and have the chance to connect with other individuals who have come forward.

To share your experience with the theatre please call Rachel as soon as possible on 01708 462376 or email and she will be happy to answer any further questions.

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is co-producing Diane Samuels’ extraordinary and haunting play, Kindertransport, which she wrote 25 years ago, with Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg in association with Selladoor Productions. Kindertransport runs in Hornchurch from 8 – 24 March, plays at Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg from 27 – 31 March and then embarks on a UK tour to the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Richmond Theatre and Manchester Opera House.

To book tickets for Kindertransport at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch visit or call the Box Office on 01708 443333.

The West Ham Way – show 69

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Welcome to the latest edition of The West Ham Way, Phoenix FM’s weekly round up of all things West Ham!

The show is presented every week by Dave Walker and Kev Slade from West Ham website Sex Drugs & Carlton Cole with help from the mysterious @exwhuemployee, founder of The West Ham Way website.

On this week’s show Dave, Kev and Ex discuss West Ham’s recent performances on the field, possible targets in the current transfer window and questions from listeners.

The West Ham Way will be back next week on Wednesday at 7pm. #COYI